15 down, one to go. That’s where the Golden State Warriors find themselves after Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals, in which they beat the Boston Celtics 104-94 to take a 3-2 lead.
They’ll get two chances to close things out: on the road on Thursday and, if they fail there, at home again on Sunday. As we get closer to those dates we’ll start freaking out a little bit ... but until then, let’s enjoy this game.
And let’s do it by grading each player, weighting for our expectations of them.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) this season was 56.6%.
35 minutes, 8 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 6 fouls, 3-for-6 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 58.1% TS, +11
Well folks, that was the Draymond Green that we all know and adore. And let’s be honest: we all knew it was coming.
I often say in this space that the Warriors offense functions better when Green is being aggressive. I stand by that, but it helps when he’s not only being aggressive, but really figuring out the right ways to attack the holes in the defense.
D R Y pic.twitter.com/G22dgpmlXt— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 14, 2022
A masterclass on defense and leadership, and Dray did a sensational job pushing the ball, which gives the Dubs the best chance to find their offensive flow and force Boston’s bigs off the court.
Otto Porter Jr.
15 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 2 fouls, 1-for-3 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 33.3% TS, +6
Porter got his second straight start and, for the second straight game, he didn’t do all that much. But he was on the court for the first few minutes, when the Dubs came out of the gates firing, and his defense was lovely during that time.
43 minutes, 26 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 fouls, 12-for-23 shooting, 0-for-6 threes, 2-for-3 free throws, 53.5% TS, +12
The lone complaint I have about Wiggins’ tremendous performance was that it prompted the Twitter masses to start discussing his Finals MVP candidacy which … no. Stop it. Please, stop it immediately. It’s a discredit not only to Steph Curry, but also Wiggins, to run with a silly narrative when you could instead be praising his game.
Wiggs on the move— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 14, 2022
Because this game was worthy of praising. He had a tremendous offensive first half, scoring 16 points and manufacturing a lot of offense when the offense got stagnant. He attacked the glass ferociously, and now has 29 boards in the last two games … critical to the Warriors bouncing back after getting dominated by Al Horford and Robert Williams III in Game 3.
And his defense on Jayson Tatum? Chef’s kiss.
He was the star of the show, and also got Chase Center hopping like no one else.
‼️‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/5oNnnyPQp3— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 14, 2022
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and rebounds.
37 minutes, 16 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 7-for-22 shooting, 0-for-9 threes, 2-for-3 free throws, 34.3% TS, +15
A brutal shooting game for the best shooter to ever lace them up. For the first time in his 133-game playoff career, Curry failed to make a three. And it was the first time he hadn’t made a three in any game since November 8, 2018. It was just the 40th time in his career that he’d gone a game without making a three.
But the Warriors won despite that, and you should have a lot of faith going into the final game or two of this series. Because not only did they prove that they can win without an excellent Chef Curry game, but he’ll be something special going forward.
When Steph Curry has failed to make a three, and then played in the next game, he's shot 93-for-177 (52.5%) from distance. https://t.co/OwDnhH6LfB— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) June 14, 2022
Despite the bad shooting, Curry had a good game in other areas. He distributed the ball well, and took care of the rock. He had a strong defensive game as Boston targeted him all night. And even though he gets a poor grade, it needs to be said that he’s still the most valuable player on the Warriors every time he steps out. They don’t win this game without the defensive attention he received all night long.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
40 minutes, 21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 7-for-14 shooting, 5-for-11 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 70.6% TS, +13
It was a quietly excellent game for Klay. His points weren’t nearly as loud as Wiggins’, even though they were nearly as plentiful and far more efficient. His defense didn’t get the credit that other players’ did, but it was still very good.
Get hot, KT— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 14, 2022
Klay was just lovely in this game, and then followed up with some of the best post-game media you’ll ever see.
This answer keeps getting better the longer you watch pic.twitter.com/NZnO1N6oOx— Sam Hustis (@SamHustis) June 14, 2022
Protect this man at all costs.
5 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 foul, -9
Bjeli didn’t get much of an opportunity in this game, and what little time he got was with a pretty poor and funky lineup on the court. The Warriors lineup is really going to get tightened in the next game or two, so we might not see Bjelica again unless it’s garbage time.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
1 minute, 0 points, 0-for-1 shooting, 0.0% TS, -6
Garbage time for the rookie.
4 minutes, 0 points, 2 assists, -4
Not sure if it’s the fact that he’s been injured so much lately, or just that he’s at the tail end of his career, but Iguodala doesn’t look like much of a defensive factor at the moment. Like with Bjelica, I’m not sure if we see Andre again this series unless it’s garbage time.
1 minute, 0 points, 2 fouls, -6
Garbage time for JTA. But victorious garbage time is always good garbage time.
17 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 5 fouls, 1-for-2 shooting, 50% TS, +12
Looney got into foul trouble immediately, picking up three fouls in his first three minutes on the court. That stopped him from ever finding too much rhythm in this game, and he wasn’t nearly as effective as in Game 4.
Still did some really good things though, and most of the Warriors best lineups seem to have him on the court.
1 minute, 0 points, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -6
Gary Payton II
26 minutes, 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 fouls, 6-for-8 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 84.5% TS, +16
I have only one word to describe GPII’s performance: brilliant.
His defense was relentless. His offense was crafty. The former led to the latter.
He was the Dubs best bench player, and the bench leader in minutes, and I suspect that will be the case again on Thursday. He’s a tremendous fit in this series, but mostly I’m just so happy that, after the awful injury he sustained in the semifinals, he gets to be back on the court, playing a big role, and helping his team fight for a title.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
14 minutes, 14 points, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 4-for-8 shooting, 3-for-6 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, 75.1% TS, +2
Kind of a funny Poole game. His offense was electric. He was ridiculously efficient, was able to fire off good looks, and made one of the biggest shots of the game.
Jordan Poole at the buzzer— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 14, 2022
He also was targeted time and time again on defense and, unlike Curry, rewarded Boston for that approach. No one would have thought a few weeks ago that Poole would be limited to 14 minutes in a game, but between the spectacular play of Payton, and Poole’s defensive foibles, it made sense.
1 minute, 0 points, -6
And we wrap this up with some more garbage time.
Monday’s inactives: James Wiseman